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'Why kickboxing is the at-home workout to kick your boredom to the curb'

It’s beloved by the Hollywood elite for a reason.

by Cassandra Green AUGUST 13, 2021

Gigi Hadid is a fan of boxing for fitness. Image: Instagram/@gigihadidSource:BodyAndSoul NYC cult studio, Hit House’s Dana VanPamelen runs through the ultimate cardio-meets-strength workout for your lockdown woes. You’d have to be living under a rock not to hear how obsessed people are with kickboxing. It’s all over our feeds, with models and actresses such as Gigi Hadid, Adriana Lima and Shay Mitchell looking to boxing disciplines for a killer workout. In normal times, you may have even booked a class, but with the Delta variant sinking into Australian communities – we’re looking for in-home workouts.

The good news? Shadowboxing is perfect for that! Speaking to Body+Soul, founder of NYC-based kickboxing studio Hit House, Dana VanPamelen says she’s not surprised it’s so popular with celebs. “I believe models love Muay Thai because it’s a full-body workout. You engage all of your limbs since punches, kicks, knees and elbows are all part of Muay Thai (it’s referred to as ‘the art of 8 limbs.’),” she says. “Physical benefits include increased cardio, sculpted shoulders, arms and legs, a strong core - but the mental benefits may outweigh the physical. It makes you feel more confident, while working your mind with extreme concentration. The act of striking releases tension, anger and anxiety as you focus on putting together combinations and watching your opponent for their next move.” Sounds like the perfect lockdown exercise to us! We have a fair amount of frustration to work out.

So, how do you ‘shadowbox’ at home? “Most of your power comes from your hips, so for this workout we are incorporating hip mobility and strengthening exercises with cardio-focused shadowboxing,” VanPamelen explains. “This workout is designed to increase your range of motion in the hips, body stabilization and improve your muscle endurance.” “In addition to cardio, shadowboxing will help you perfect your form, movement and increase your striking accuracy.” For this workout, you’ll want enough space to fully extend your limbs and a yoga mat for floor work. If possible, shadowbox in front of a mirror. (You can be your own opponent.)

The 5-step workout Just go step by step!

Step 1: Hip mobility warm up Clam Shell:

  • Lie on your side, with your legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle, making sure your hips are stacked.

  • Rest your head on your lower arm. You can use your top arm as a kickstand. Engage your abdominals to stabilize your spine and pelvis.

  • Raise your upper knee without shifting your hips, keeping your feet together and without moving your lower leg. Hold this for a beat, then return your upper leg to the starting position on the ground. Repeat this for a minute, then switch to the other leg.

Side Leg Raises:

  • Lie down on your side in a straight line with your legs extended and feet stacked. Place your arm straight on the floor under your head. Rest your top hand on your hip. Raise your top leg off the lower leg until you feel the muscles flex in your obliques.

  • Lower the leg back down to meet the bottom leg. Repeat this for a minute, then switch to the other leg.

Hip Raises/Glute Bridge:

  • Lay on your back, knees right above ankles, feet firmly planted on the floor, just far enough so that you can graze them with the tips of your fingertips.

  • Engage your core, with your lower back placed firmly on the floor, and lift your hips (without overarching your back) using your glute muscles.

  • Repeat this round twice, with 1 minute for each move (or per side).

Step 2: Shadowboxing Non-stop Jab/Cross (1 minute):

  • Throw your jab by extending your front hand straight out, keeping your elbows in and aligned with your fist. Power your punch with your hips.

  • Throw your cross by rotating your rear hip forward and pivoting on your back foot, while extending your rear arm forward to punch.

  • Rotate your palm to face down, aiming to strike an opponent with your first two knuckles. While one hand is striking, keep the other hand protecting your face.

Non-stop Blocks (1 minute):

  • Defend kicks from an imaginary opponent by angling your leg out and bringing it up to your torso, meeting it with your elbow on the outside of your knee. Stay tall and don’t crunch down with your obliques. Alternate between front and rear legs.

Non-stop Teeps (1 minute):

  • Raise your knee until your foot is just below your hip, then quickly push forward using your hip. Strike with the ball of your foot at full extension.

  • Switch between front and rear leg, landing in your stance.

Body Kick (1 minute):

  • Pivot on the ball of your lead foot and kick at an imaginary waist-level target, spinning around and landing back in your stance. Your lead hand will stay up to protect your face as your rear hand pulls down, like a lever.

  • If you start to feel dizzy from spinning around too many times, you can stop your kick in front of you and bring it back into your stance quickly.

Step 3: Cardio Burst Jump Lunges (30 seconds):

  • Start in a lunge position and jump into the air. Mid-air swap your legs so that the opposite is forward and land in a lunge position.

  • Continue swapping legs and landing in a lunge for 30 seconds.

Nonstop Uppercuts (30 seconds):

  • Rotate your torso and scoop your rear arm under, up and across, aiming for your opponent’s chin.

  • Repeat this movement with your front fist, then back fist, then front fist, non-stop for 30 seconds.

Step 3: More Hip Mobility Sumo Squat:

  • Stand in a wide stance with your feet pointed out at a 45 degree angle. Lower down into your sumo squat position, with your chest upright (don’t hinge at your hips) and knees pushing outwards (not caving in).

  • Fire up your glutes as you stand back up.


  • Alternate between legs for forward or back lunges for a minute, or lunge with one leg for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.

Standing Hip C.A.R.S.*:

  • *Controlled Articular Rotations utilise active rotation movements at the outer limits of your range of motion for each joint to stimulate articular adaptations. C.A.R.S. improve balance and strengthen surrounding muscles. The entire movement should be slow and controlled. Stand with a straight spine, with your feet hip width distance.

  • Lift your left leg to hip height, with a 90 degree bend and flexed foot. Drive through the heel of your standing leg, with a soft bend in your standing leg knee. Bring your bent left leg out to the side, with your knee still at hip height.

  • Keeping your knee still, bring your foot to face the back wall behind you by rotating your hip joint. Bring your knee down to meet the knee of the standing leg and repeat. This move should be done with control, keeping tension the entire time.

  • Repeat this for a minute, then switch to the right leg.

  • Repeat this round twice, with 1 minute for each move (or per side).

Step 4: Shadowboxing Same moves as before, but with some added cardio:

  • Non-stop Kicks (1 minute - Using the same motions as the first round, try throwing kicks at different levels. Go higher to land a head kick and go lower to land a leg kick)

  • Non-stop Blocks (1 minute)

  • Non-stop Teeps (1 minute)

  • Non-stop Upper Cuts (1 minute)

  • Squat Jumps (30 seconds)

  • Nonstop Jab/Cross (30 seconds)

Step 5: Stretch Try the Frog Rock! Start kneeling on the floor with your hands in front of you, then slide your knees straight out to the side, bent at 90 degrees, so that you are in a wide straddle Keep a straight line from each knee to hip. Gently rock your hips forward, in front of your knees, hold, return and rock your hips backwards, behind your knees.


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